Cutting Education: You just shouldn’t do it

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How does Paul Ryan or anyone in a position of authority justify cuts in spending to the engine of education?

At a time when we need an technologically-skilled, highly-educated populace, now more than ever, it seems both short-sighted and even destructive to the future development of the nation.

Not that education is doing well at the moment. It is struggling under burdens of defining the correct pedagogy for the era, defining methods, increasing financial pressures, teacher quality assurance issues, the increasing dependence on technology for the delivery of services and the attendant cost of that technology.

Corporate America is both the greatest user of educated workers but also one of its greatest detractors, saying education today has not produced the kind of workers they are seeking.

Corporations are loathe to admit that through their tax-avoidance policies, some of the lasting effects on education development are due to an lack of funding for education nationwide. Corporations directly affect the bottom line of education when they decide to maximize profit before considering the long term effects on the social fabric they are dependent on, but not taking responsibility for by paying taxes.

Teachers are being challenged to educate students whose needs vary widely, whose backgrounds and starting points are quite diverse and expected to create people capable of working in a workforce transformed by both corporate need and corporate greed into a two class system.

The first class is the high-tech worker who will be required to critically think, analyse, devise new ways of problem solving, utilizing new technologies, and being driven to find new levels of profitability against what would be considered our own best interests, environmentally, socially and in the light of a future growing ever more crowded, dysfunctional, unhealthy and psychologically unbalanced.

The second class is even worse off than the first. No real expectation is made of that second class of workers. Since the economy is becoming more service oriented, meaning fewer manufacturing jobs are being created in America, than at any time since the start of the Industrial Age, the service industry is being asked to absorb workers leaving school but lacking the capabilities of the first tier workers.

Exacerbating this problem, service industry jobs are already, unfortunately, unable to absorb the ever-increasing numbers of both second tier workers whose educations were not able to create a first tier worker, but must also compete with first tier workers who cannot get jobs due to the ever-present specter of technological obsolescence built into the Information Age society.

Simply put, there isn’t enough work to go around, no matter what level of technological capability and educational training a person may possess.

The service industry is completely saturated and will remain so for the foreseeable future and while the tech/development/creative/professional parts of society are still in demand, they have not kept pace with the number of educated people coming out of school, let alone emigrating to the US. Far too many highly-educated people are competing for a job whose mantra may be “Would you like fries with that?”

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